Personalisation and data collection are some of the elements of running a successful F&B outlet that are potentially being affected by the rise of delivery apps, according to F&B industry experts.
The trends in ‘digital’ within the F&B industry have made it so that there is an increased use of technology to remove the human interaction within an F&B transaction. Katch International founder Georgie Woollams, while discussing technology, social media, and digital marketing at the 2017 edition to To The Table MEA, said: “The problem you have got is that digital is quite advanced, but it's taking the emotion out of the F&B industry – 40% of people order food from their phone.” She said that technology has perhaps moved far more than it should have, and has taken out the emotion in the process, with the growth in the delivery market inevitable.
The First Group director of global food & beverage Duncan Fraser-Smith was more vehement, as he commented: “Delivery is killing the restaurant business. It completely removes the restaurateur..; it removes that customer journey. The personalisation, the emotional engagement that occurs when you go to a restaurant has been completely removed.” He, however, pointed out that brands such as Freedom Pizza and Noodle House are taking control of the trend and using it to great effect.
Woollams noted: “Yes, but I work with restaurants that might not get such good lunch crowds but with delivery they get a great upsell for lunch, hit their budget and see the results on the P/L statement.” She did admit that fine dining restaurants should not be getting on this bandwagon, and said: “Restaurants like fine dining should not be packed into a plastic box [because it’s all about the experience].” However, with more and more people ordering online, there is more peer pressure to get involved with the delivery route to market.
Servme CEO Sarah Hawilo pointed out that it costs a lot to use delivery platforms and it takes away from the restaurant’s profits. She added: “Some restaurants have said that they stopped because it's taking away from the profits they make on their dishes. I do believe these types of companies are affecting the restaurant business.”
“There’s two sides of the story though – it depends on the restaurant and the audience, but it would be nice for restaurants to start thinking, ‘what am I getting out of the delivery apps?’” Hawilo said, noting that data collection from these delivery platforms would perhaps make the investment worthwhile.